Dancing with the staff was a hit

Photo Courtesy of Ben Ramirez

By Sora Park

Amid the chaos of the hundreds of people swarming into Highlander Hall, I found my seat and sat down and waited for the show to begin.

On September 29, our school hosted its very first Dancing with the Staff show. What began as a fundraiser for the school’s distinguished Dance Team, turned into a beautiful show filled with support from students and staff.

Hosted by dancer and cast member of “Titanic”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Spiderman III”, and “La la Land.” Scott Hislop was only one of the celebrity guests. However, on Friday night, the faculty and staff were the real stars of the show.

Here are some Highlights from the top five finalists

5th Place: Amada Dominguez, Lindy Hop

Though Dominguez usually works behind the scenes in the Attendance Office, she was nothing but a star in the competition. Dancing to Lindy Hop, a stylistic jazz swing dance, she wore the cutest outfit with her vintage knee-length skirt and adorable white button-up  blouse.

With her blinding white smile and cheery personality, she won everyone’s hearts. Her spunky dance moves and phenomenal teamwork with her coaches left us wanting more of her performance.  

4th Place: Julie Neumann, Disco

Dancing to the Disco, Neumann brought a fresh funky energy to the whole show. Her bedazzled outfit and head gear made her sparkly on the outside, but her precise hand movements made her truly shine.

Though Neumann is fairly new to our school, the coordination between herself and the coaches was phenomenal.  She made the team seem as if they’ve known each other for years!

What made Neumann standout especially was the way she put herself into the 70’s. Just by watching her bust those pointed figures and jazzy hands made the audience feel as if they were back in the disco.

3rd Place: Stuart Fingeret, Paso Doble

Fingeret blew the audience away with his charismatic Paso Doble performance. This Spanish dance mimics the moves of a bull-fighter. His impersonation of the matador was on-par, and the way his dance coaches portrayed his cape and shadow exemplified their great sense of teamwork and drama.

Contrasting with the contemporary and 80s Hip Hop performances of the other teachers, his unique dance left the audience constantly on the edge of their seats wondering: what is Fingeret going to do next? Truly, this was the work of a drama teacher.

Something worth mentioning were Fingeret’s spontaneous final moves. As he finished, he added the nae-nae, whip, and the dab, and the crowd burst into a roar of laughter and screams as Fingeret made an already unique performance into an unforgettable one.

2nd Place: Rachael Phipps, contemporary

Performing a contemporary piece, Phipps’ segment was something the audience wasn’t prepared for. With her and her coaches’ black silhouettes contrasting with the blue background, the audience immediately felt engaged and began to ask one question. Which one is Phipps?

It was nearly impossible to distinguish between the coaches and. Phipps because she executed the dance so perfectly. And then, as the spotlight shone on Phipps, she popped off the black tear-away shirt leaving a sparkly yellow shirt and the audience in shock. We were absolutely speechless.

As Phipps continued to perform, she conducted a flawless all-center turn leaving the already roaring crowd to ablaze. Though she has retired her IB dance coaching days, it seems like Phipps retained all of her dance moves.

Performing fourth in the program, Phipps set the highest bar for the rest of the competition, making her the biggest rival for the remaining performers. It was no surprise that Phipps placed top tier.  

1st Place: Melissa Savage, hip hop

Make sure to have ice, ice baby, because this 90’s Hip Hop performance is hot and incredibly fun to watch.

Savage’s performance went beyond the normal choreography. She incorporated her high school breakdancing moves as she did a backflip, floor rocking, and the worm. Her consistent energy when performing her routine made all of us forget that she’s a science teacher.

Savage’s technique was also top-notch. The precision in her footwork and the youthful energy she released when conducting her hip-hop made all of us want to dance in our seats.

What was most impressive about her segment was her ability to take us back in time. Sitting there, watching her perform, made all of us feel like we were back in the 90’s.

Honorable Mention

Everyone in the show from teachers to the Dance Team did a fantastic job. VAPA teacher Stefani Thomas and administrator Jennifer DaCosta bravely performed first for each lineup. They successfully started each half by setting the bar high. English teachers Shayna Arhanian and Maureen Grandchamp were key elements to the show as they brought different styles of dance: Bollywood and Country Line Dance. Math teacher Romy Taylor and VAPA department chair Sarah White, two of my friends’ personal favorites, brought a refreshing element to the show with their Musical Theatre hats and Hip-hop production. Lastly, English teacher Kristi Vazquez and IB administrator Nicholas Weber truly had the crowd go crazy as they were able to break out of their comfort zones and go wild with fierce energy.

I was never able to witness any of the dance team’s performances until that Friday, but they’re seriously talented, and make me want to see more. As a person who can’t dance for her life, I was incredibly jealous of their amazing skills and ability to choreograph such amazing pieces. They have clearly learned a lot from dance teacher Dana Fukagawa.

Dancing with the Stars was truly a memorable event. Being able to see the faculty and staff students love go out of their way to work together with the dance team to produce an amazing production was truly rewarding. I can’t wait for Granada’s Best Teacher Dance Crew.


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